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June 1, 2023

Marc Gafni

Marc-Venwoude2013Marc Gafni, Dr. Phil. is a philosopher, public intellectual and wisdom teacher. He holds his doctorate in philosophy from Oxford University, rabbinic certification from the chief rabbinate in Israel, as well private rabbinic ordination. He is also ordained and holds a doctorate in religious science. He is the initiating thought leader, together with Ken Wilber, of World Spirituality based on Integral principles, as well as the leading theorist and teacher of Unique Self Enlightenment. He is the director of Center for Integral Wisdom (formerly World Spirituality), a think tank he co-founded in 2011 with Ken Wilber, Sally Kempton, and Mariana Caplan (now also joined by Lori Galperin) which is creating a body of work to evolve the source code of human existence.

A rabbinic lineage holder in Bible, Talmud, and Kabbalah, Gafni self-describes as a “dual citizen” of both integral World Spirituality and classical Hebrew practice. He is a guest editor of the Journal of Integral Theory and Practice on issues of Integral spirituality, has been a faculty member of J.F.K. University, and is the author of eight books including the national bestseller Soul Prints, and The Mystery of Love, an exploration of the relationship between the erotic and the sacred. His newest books are Your Unique Self and Radical Kabbalah.

An iconoclastic artist and provocative visionary, Dr. Gafni has led spiritual movements and learning communities as well as created and hosted for several seasons a highly popular national Israeli television program on culture, meaning, and spirit. He is the father of four children (the youngest being three years old), is in committed relationship, and lives in Northern California.

Gafni’s work is highly unique in the Integral scene. Most (but not all) of the writers who are the next generation of Integral theorists are doing highly important work of deploying integral theory to many disciplines ranging from medicine to politics, to various religions, to economics etc. Gafni however meets Wilber and Integral theory as an equal, with a startling originality and lineage grounding that not only deploys but also evolves integral theory.

Wilber in his introduction to the Unique Self book called Unique Self  “a new chapter in Integral Theory.” Similarly JITP devoted an entire issue to Unique Self with the leading article by Gafni entitled “The Evolutionary Emergent of Unique Self, A New Chapter in Integral Theory“. The Integral Leadership Review is planning an upcoming special issue on Unique Self with fifteen essays applying what is termed Integral Unique Self to a diverse array of disciplines and cultural issues. Sean Esbjorn Hargens in his preface to Radical Kabbalah has already noted Gafni’s important contributions to Integral theory.

It is worth being added that Gafni has contributed to evolving Integral theory in terms of emergent understandings of what he has called “the democratization of enlightenment” a second tier theory of moral obligation, a second tier realization of prayer, of what he has called World Spirituality, Evolutionary Eros, Integral Sexuality, Conscious Entrepreneurship, Theodicy and an Integral theory of self.

Marc Gafni deeply connected to his lineage

Marc Gafni deeply connected to his lineage

Gafni created two large integral events in 2010 and 2011 – one around Unique Self and the other around the Future of Love. Together with his current teaching on Outrageous Love he has infused a new energy into Integral theory, which was always implicit, but it took a neo-Hassidic controversial cabbalist who is unabashed in his love and personal audacity, beloved by many and controversial to many others–to create this new and important moment in Integral theory.

What is lovely about this unfolding is that it was directly invited and catalyzed by Ken Wilber. Marc and Ken have had dozens of conversations around Integral Theory and the great traditions over the last decade including a set of pivotal conversations around Unique Self, which Gafni always attributes jointly to himself, and Wilber. The fact that Gafni is in every conversation always giving credit to Wilber whom he calls with delight “my Integral mentor” and Wilber gives great credit to Gafni’s original World Spirituality and Integral Wisdom teachings speaks well for the health of Integral Philosophy.

[Click here for Dr. Marc Gafni’s in-depth biography on his personal website…]

For more on his work, see

Watch Sally Kempton introducing Marc Gafni on the Integral Spiritual Experience 2 – The Future of Love: